The countless experiences I have had through Golden Key has greatly impacted my life. One of the influential experiences Golden Key has given me is exposure to various cultures. In attending International Conferences in New Orleans, Louisiana, Orlando, Florida, and Scottsdale, Arizona not only have I been immersed in local cultures but my interactions with others from Canada, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, and numerous other countries brought me to realize my love of other cultures and traveling.
Therefore, when the opportunity to participate in a service learning project in Costa Rica presented itself! I knew this was something that I must make happen not only for myself but for other Golden Key members that shared my interest in helping others and exploring different cultures. So in August of 2010 I found myself sitting on a plane next to 9 other excited GK members headed to San Jose. To gain a better understanding of the culture, arrangements were made for the students to stay with families in the area. The families took the students in as their own feeding them home cooked Costa Rican meals and went above and beyond to ensure a comfortable and safe stay. Each day the students had the opportunity to take Authentic Costa Rican Cooking and Dance Classes. As a group the students also participated in several excursions visiting a Volcano, ruins, a botanical garden, and even went zipling over the rainforest canopy.
The service learning component of the trip consisted of the students volunteering in a school for underprivileged children. The Golden Key members gathered school supplies, books, and clothing prior to departure and were able to distribute these items to the kids. The GKers worked with the students in the classroom and played games with the students to assist in building their English speaking skills. Also, GK painted several beautiful murals on the walls around the school and painted games on the concrete floor of their play area. The many smiles and laughs that these paintings brought to the children warmed our hearts! The children were so grateful for what we had done that they even presented each of us with a homemade gift and drawing at our farewell gathering which brought tears to our eyes.